News of the brutal murder of Ethiopian migrant workers in Libya by the so-called Islamic state follows on from their relentless attacks on vulnerable Christians throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It comes as the Archbishop of Canterbury visits Egypt on an eirenic visit to offer his condolences to His Holiness Pope Tawadros for the similar slaughter earlier this year of twenty-one poor Coptic workers. Archbishop Welby also met with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb. His description of the so-called Islamic state as “deeply evil” echoes the response of both Christian and Islamic leaders.
Writing to His Grace Abune Antonios, the diocesan bishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Great Britain, Abba Seraphim offered his deepest sympathy at the shocking news of the brutal murder of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians at the hands of extremists in Libya. Coming so soon after the murder of the Coptic workers, he stated that he shared their grief and anguish.
“These are terrible times for our Oriental Orthodox churches as we commemorate the centenary of the Armenian Genocide and Syriac Sayfo, to find that we now face the demonic destruction of Orthodox churches and cruel treatment of Christians across the Middle East and Africa at the hands of Daesh. We draw comfort from the knowledge that those who perish at the hands of these vicious murderers remain faithful unto death, have received the crown of life, and now dwell for ever in the presence of their Saviour. We also mourn the tragic loss of life of those recently drowned in the Mediterranean, among whom were Christians from Ethiopia and Eritrea.”
He assured Abune Antonios that the “British Orthodox Church shares your grief and joins with you in fervent prayer for the families and friends of all those killed, who are our brothers in Christ. We pray that these new martyrs will intercede for us with the Lord of mercy.”